On October 14, 2008, 150 plaintiffs were named in a one-count lawsuit filed in a Madison County, IL, civil court against Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and John Crane. Damages were not being sought, but the claimants accuse the companies of providing misleading information that led to the use and exposure to asbestos for thousands over the course of several decades. Met Life, as the insurer for many asbestos companies, is accused of working with those businesses to put forth “false and misleading reports” in order to “maintain a favorable atmosphere for the continued sale and distribution and use of asbestos.” An asbestos study conducted in 1929 was altered by Dr. Anthony Lanza at the insistence of the asbestos companies with the knowledge of Met Life.
The alterations were designed to downplay and discredit the dangers of asbestos, dangers that being discovered by other studies at the time. The lawsuit states: “Many other active scientists in the field of environmental cancer were driven out of their laboratories soon after describing their findings on cancer hazards.” The lawsuit goes on to claim, that “these efforts wrongfully obstructed and confused the real asbestos hazard situation, and had a profound retarding effect on the evaluation of the truth in asbestos and asbestos-related health and cancer research.” John Crane, a gasket manufacturer in Chicago, is not singled out in the lawsuit with specific claims against it, but it is still a named defendant in order to secure venue in Madison County courts.